The Real Deal New York

Family of Robert Durst’s first wife to file wrongful death suit

McCormack family has retained former Manhattan prosecutor Alex Spiro

October 16, 2015 11:35AM

Robert Durst Kathleen McCormack

From left: Kathleen McCormack and Robert Durst (credit: HBO)

The family of Robert Durst’s first wife, Kathleen, who disappeared after an argument with Durst in 1982, is preparing to sue the real estate scion for wrongful death.

The McCormack family’s lawyer, former Manhattan prosecutor Alex Spiro, filed a petition Thursday in New York County Surrogate Court to appoint James McCormack, Kathleen’s brother, as administrator of her estate.

“The reason James McCormack wishes to be appointed administrator at this time,” wrote Spiro in the filing, “is to commence a possible wrongful death action against the decedent’s husband, Robert Durst.”

The family finally decided to sue after viewing the finale of Andrew Jarecki’s HBO mini-series, “The Jinx,” which explored the various murders and disappearances of which Durst has been accused.

“After 33 years of hell — really, there’s no other way to describe what our family has been through — we decided it’s time to sue,” James McCormack told New York Magazine.

Earlier this month, Jarecki said the Durst family, one of New York’s oldest and most successful development dynasties, could have prevented two of the murders.

“One could argue that had they done anything at the time to get any kind of version of the truth, then Bob might have gotten psychiatric help, might have been incarcerated or whatever, but two other people, Susan Berman and Morris Black, would not be murdered,” he said. [NY Mag] – Ariel Stulberg